Een kritiek op een geromantiseerd vertoog over moederschap. De moordende moeders in Dorresteins Een hart van steen en Raskers Met onbekende bestemming


  • Josje Weusten


In contemporary Dutch society, white middleclass and heterosexual motherhood is often normatively framed in terms of enjoyment. In contemporary Dutch literary fiction, however, this motherhood is regularly problematized. This offers an interesting tension, which begs the question of how such literary images of motherhood relate to the discourse of enjoyment. This article unravels the relationship between two bestselling Dutch novels which both detail the story of a mother who commits infanticide, and the discourse of enjoyment. The novels are Een hart van steen (2003[1998], translated into English in 2001 as A Heart of Stone) by Renate Dorrestein and Met onbekende bestemming (2003[2000], translated into English in 2002 as Unknown Destination) by Maya Rasker. A contextual, narratologically inspired, and comparative reading of the novels is offered, which leads to the conclusion that both novels – and particularly Met onbekende bestemming – may to a certain extent be read as cultural critiques of the discourse of enjoyment surrounding white heterosexual motherhood in the middleclass. This holds to a greater extent for Met onbekende bestemming, which is the result of the fact that readers of this novel are stimulated to identify with the mother who kills her daughter.